Massimo Luciani

Orca seen in the Pacific (Photo courtesy AP Photo/Elaine Thompson. All rights reserved)

In recent days a new genetic project has been announced to collect and sequence the DNA of orcas living in the Pacific Northwest to try to save them from extinction, which at this point is a serious risk. The project is a collaboration between NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the non-profit organization Nature Conservancy and the BGI genomics company. Skin or other biological samples of more than one hundred specimens that have been collected over more than two decades will be used to obtain DNA.

Vic Gundotra

Google has announced it’s closing its social network Google+ to consumers to remain open to enterprise users. The transformation will take place in 10 months, giving users time to make a copy of their messages. The news was provided along with the revelation of a security problem that left the data of many users visible to anyone who could exploit it.

Under the Dome by Stephen King

The novel “Under the Dome” by Stephen King was published for the first time in 2009.

Chester’s Mill is a normal Maine town until one day a transparent dome covers it completely. Its origin is unknown and the only activity it shows is to blow up all the electronic devices that get too close, otherwise it’s a passive barrier that seems impossible to breach.

Chester’s Mill’s isolation immediately becomes an opportunity for James “Big Jim” Rennie, one of the city’s selectmen, to assert his power. Taking advantage of the weaknesses of the other selectmen and the death of the police chief, whose pacemaker exploded near the Dome, he quickly turns the police into his personal militia. Dale “Barbie” Barbara, an ex military man, and Julia Shumway, the owner of the city newspaper, are among the few who oppose him.

Examinations of the teeth of various hominins helps to understand their distribution in Europe and their evolution in the Pleistocene

Two articles published in the journal “PLOS ONE” describe two research on Pleistocene hominin teeth conducted by two teams with various researchers in common. A team led by Laura Martín-Francés of the French University of Bordeaux discovered various characteristics of Neanderthal teeth in the molars of a previous species named Homo antecessor from the Early Pleistocene. A team led by Clément Zanolli of the French University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier examined the oldest dental remains discovered in Italy with an age estimated at about 450,000 years ago, concluding that they were similar to those of Neanderthals and distinct from those of modern humans.

Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod (Italian edition)

The novel “Cosmonaut Keep” by Ken MacLeod was published for the first time in 2000. It’s the first book in the Engines of Light Trilogy.

Matt Cairns is a programmer who also accepts jobs that are not exactly legal, exploiting his ability to penetrate computer systems. His contacts lead him to try to penetrate the system of a space station where he discovers much more than expected and ends up involved in a story that also concerns the first contact with an alien species.

On the planet Mingulay, human beings live together with saurs and kraken, on which they have to rely for interstellar travel. Gregor Cairns is part of a family that would like to discover the secrets needed to build their own interstellar starships, but this requires not only to solve a series of technical problems but also to avoid causing the gods’ wrath.